EXPLORING LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS OF INNOVATIVE TEACHERS
One of the Malaysian government’s main agendas is to develop world-class education system. However, the government is facing many challenges especially in handling the issue of unemployment among graduates. The government needs to focus on the aspect of dynamic and innovative human capital in enhancing its resilience and economic progress, as well as developing a community with exemplary values. This can be seen in the Malaysian New Economic Model, which is based on innovation and productivity enrichment. The development of innovative human capital is a must. Education plays an important role in shaping the quality of its students, not only from the aspects of academic, co-curriculum and personality but also in enhancing the human capital value through innovation and intellectual capabilities. In line with the national agenda, the government gives much emphasis on producing human capital with high thinking skill, good personality, creative, innovative and competitive. Given these aspirations, teachers should be trained and developed to become innovative teachers in order to produce innovative students. Thus,the purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of developing innovative teachers to produce innovative students. This study highlights the leadership characteristics needed in developing an innovative teacher. Instrument used in this study was self-developed and validated by the chosen experts. The samples of the research were randomly selected among teachers teaching at secondary schools in Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Johor and Besut, Terengganu. The instrument was self-developed by the researcher based on interviews with resource persons who are experts in their fields as well as through literature analysis. Pilot study was carried out among 30 respondents. The Cronbach’s Alpha value for the whole instrument is .952 and it shows that the instrument is reliable and therefore suitable for the actual data collection. A total of 484 sets of questionnaires were completed and gathered that form the data for this research. The data was analysed using an advanced statistical method namely the Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The finding of the research concluded the three profile constructs, namely, Leadership, Openness and Braveness. Such constructs labeling was made based on the group of items formed as a result of the PCA analysis. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used to validate each dimension and to analyse the coherence of data being gathered based on the model hypothesis. The finding of the CFA indicated that the goodness-of-fit from the revised model are as follows: CMIN/DF=2.56; CFI=.935; and RMSEA=.057; each figure is above threshold value. However, for the purpose of this discussion, only leadership characteristic will be discussed and highlighted. Factor loadings for each indicator in leadership construct vary from .56 to .67. These values fulfilled the minimum value of .5 which can be considered as significant and measuring the measured construct.The leadership traits need to be developed in each individual teacher so as to enable them to influence the innovative behaviour among their students. A leader is capable of influencing the behaviour of the employees. In order to achieve a successful organisation, a responsible leader is needed to implement innovative strategy and to inspire his subordinates to create innovative culture among them.